Hamas Is Rebuilding Its West Bank Infrastructure

Israeli forces recently found and killed the head of the Hamas cell responsible for murdering Rabbi Raziel Shevach in January. To Ron Ben-Yishai this attack, unlike other recent stabbings and shooting, was the work of professional terrorists—and is thus a sign of a Hamas resurgence:

It was immediately clear that the [attack in January] was carried out by a professional, well-trained, and well-funded terror cell that carefully chose the location of the ambush, escape routes, and hiding places for after the attack. . . . What this means is that this was no “local resistance organization” or “lone-wolf attack” but rather the act of a well-entrenched terrorism infrastructure. . . . The difference between an organized terror infrastructure and local, popular terrorism is the amount of time required for its establishment, including “executioners,” collaborators to assist them, and a well-funded command center, probably located on land not directly under Israeli control. Also necessary are effective and secretive communications channels.

In the case of the [recently uncovered] Jarrar squad—headed by members of the Jarrar family—it is now known that its members carried out a number of terror attacks before Shevach’s murder. Despite those attacks, they managed to evade discovery by Israeli security forces. . . .

In general, the infrastructure of the Jarrar cell is reminiscent of Hamas’s organization during the second intifada. . . . For some years now, we have not witnessed such phenomena and infrastructure in the West Bank. This means that Hamas has finally succeeded in creating a competent terror infrastructure—unbeknownst to the IDF and Shin Bet—because they used clandestine methods typical of an established and proficient terror underground with a competent . . . command-and-control infrastructure.

The conclusion is that the Shin Bet and the IDF must now focus more intelligence and operational efforts toward thwarting established and sophisticated terrorism of the kind that existed during the second intifada until it was crushed in 2007.

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More about: Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Palestinian terror, West Bank

Yasir Arafat’s Decades-Long Alliance with Iran and Its Consequences for Both Palestinians and Iranians

Jan. 18 2019

In 2002—at the height of the second intifada—the Israeli navy intercepted the Karina A, a Lebanese vessel carrying 50 tons of Iranian arms to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). But Yasir Arafat’s relationship with the Islamic Republic goes much farther back, to before its founding in 1979. The terrorist leader had forged ties with followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini that grew especially strong in the years when Lebanon became a base of operations both for Iranian opponents of the shah and for the PLO itself. Tony Badran writes:

The relationship between the Iranian revolutionary factions and the Palestinians began in the late 1960s, in parallel with Arafat’s own rise in preeminence within the PLO. . . . [D]uring the 1970s, Lebanon became the site where the major part of the Iranian revolutionaries’ encounter with the Palestinians played out. . . .

The number of guerrillas that trained in Lebanon with the Palestinians was not particularly large. But the Iranian cadres in Lebanon learned useful skills and procured weapons and equipment, which they smuggled back into Iran. . . . The PLO established close working ties with the Khomeinist faction. . . . [W]orking [especially] closely with the PLO [was] Mohammad Montazeri, son of the senior cleric Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri and a militant who had a leading role in developing the idea of establishing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) once the revolution was won.

The Lebanese terrorist and PLO operative Anis Naccache, who coordinated with [the] Iranian revolutionaries, . . . takes personal credit for the idea. Naccache claims that Jalaleddin Farsi, [a leading Iranian revolutionary]. approached him specifically and asked him directly to draft the plan to form the main pillar of the Khomeinist regime. The formation of the IRGC may well be the greatest single contribution that the PLO made to the Iranian revolution. . . .

Arafat’s fantasy of pulling the strings and balancing the Iranians and the Arabs in a grand anti-Israel camp of regional states never stood much of a chance. However, his wish to see Iran back the Palestinian armed struggle is now a fact, as Tehran has effectively become the principal, if not the only, sponsor of the Palestinian military option though its direct sponsorship of Islamic Jihad and its sustaining strategic and organizational ties with Hamas. By forging ties with the Khomeinists, Arafat unwittingly helped to achieve the very opposite of his dream. Iran has turned [two] Palestinian factions into its proxies, and the PLO has been relegated to the regional sidelines.

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More about: Hamas, History & Ideas, Iran, Lebanon, PLO, Yasir Arafat